May Queen Salad

Queen Guinevre's Maying

John Collier – Queen Guinevre’s Maying (1900)

Thursday is May Day! Aren’t you excited? Despite having no maypole and no festivities to attend, I’m actually quite fond of the concept of May Day, or Beltane if you prefer. Unlike the other cross-quarter days, Beltane wasn’t revised as a Christian holiday. Medieval churchmen complained about it, but “the May”, as it was then known, went on. Today, you can still see maypoles, May Queens, and lots of Morris Dancing in various towns in England but many of the festivities are actually twentieth-century revivals, not annual events stretching back to the dawn of history. Not that I’m complaining–any excuse for a party, right?

Flowers are an enormous part of celebrating May Day, so I thought I would make a recipe with actual flowers for the occasion. At first, I thought about making a cake with violet syrup and candied violets, but I wasn’t really in the mood for cake. (No, this doesn’t happen often; I had been eating birthday cake leftovers.) So, I did a google search and found a salad with flowers in it. You can use any edible flowers, like the pansies and violas in the photo below, or my favorite, marigold. It may take some experimenting to find what you like. I think violas taste like old magazine pages, but marigold has a delicious savory minty flavor. Edible flowers can be found with the herbs at the supermarket.

May Queen Salad

May Queen Salad

3 ounces (75g) watercress leaves (from about 1 pound of plants)

4 ounces (100g) shelled peas (or defrosted frozen peas)

3 ounces slivered almonds (75g), lightly toasted in a dry pan over medium heat then cooled completely

1/4 ounce (7g) edible flowers

Toss together the watercress, peas, and almonds in a large bowl. Dress with sherry vinaigrette (below) and top with edible flowers.

Serves 4

Sherry Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

pinch sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Shake or whisk together all ingredients.

Adapted from “Watercress, Pea, and Almond Salad” in delicious. magazine.



P.S. Go check out my mom’s blog. She’s made an adorable May Day party favor! Plus, for you crafty types, there’s this adorable free downloadable image:
Mary Blair May Day

Edit 3 June 2014:
This post is off to find a home at Tea Time Treats, hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers. This month’s host is Karen at Lavender and Lovage.

10 thoughts on “May Queen Salad

  1. Amanda

    Looks so beautiful and sound delish too x

  2. Aimee / Wallflower Girl

    I completely forgot about May Day! I don’t think I’ve celebrated it since I was a child, and went to see Maypole dancing. I WISH I had some edible flowers to make this salad as it looks beautiful… I love edible flowers but rarely have fresh edible flowers to hand, they’re not easy to spot in UK supermarkets :/

    1. Lauren Hairston

      I had to go to five places before I found my edible flowers. I’m assuming they’re not very popular! Watercress was also difficult for me to find but I’m used to problems sourcing ingredients that aren’t Kansas standard. 🙂

  3. Lori

    What a gorgeous picture of your salad! It is so pretty with the flowers. And you know me, I totally enjoy learning something new, so thanks for the bit of May Day history. Happy May Day!

  4. Maria

    Wow! Looks very pretty! Thank you for sharing history and the lovely salad!

    1. Lauren Hairston

      No problem! Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Karen

    What a FABULOUS recipe – thanks for linking up to Tea Time Treats for June! Karen

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